FAQ

Q: Will I still be in the catchment area if the school moves?

A: The school's official catchment area is North Maidenhead.  If your child is currently in the catchment area, that will still be the case if the school moves.  Furze Platt Junior School is a named feeder primary in the FPSS Admissions Policy, and would continue to be so. Furze Platt Senior School will continue to have priority linking with the three Cookham primary schools. The school has conducted a post code survey of current students and anticipates very little change to the area from which children gain admission.

The full school admissions policy can be seen in the policies section of the school website.

Q: If the proposal goes ahead when would my children move to the new building?

A: It is very early days and the aim is for the new building to be open in September 2015. The school will form the first part of the Spencer’s Farm development.

Q: What will happen to pupils and staff already at the school?

A: The submission that Furze Platt has made concerns a new building, not a new school. The status of the school will not change, pupils and staff would move to the new building as of right.v

Q: Will my child’s education be disrupted if the move goes ahead?

A: There will be no disruption to education. There will be no construction on site and no need for any temporary accommodation.

Q: The proposed development is in the Green Belt, how confident is Summerleaze of getting the development approved?

A:Summerleaze considers there to be a need for, at least, a selective review of the Green Belt in order to examine potential options for development to meet the short to long term needs of the community. These needs include not only housing and employment, but also other community facilities such as schools.

Q: What will Furze Platt do if the submission is not accepted by the Local Authority?

A: If this submission is not successful, Furze Platt will continue to explore all other ways of ensuring that its pupils get the school environment that they need. It is the culture within the school's four walls that is important; a move to a new building will simply allow the school to do even better.

Q: Can the new school go ahead without the rest of the development or vice versa?

A: The Spencers Farm development could go ahead without the school but not the other way round. The development’s housing sales will enable funding of the newschool building. The school building will be the first part of the development.

Q: Will Summerleaze make money out of the new school?

A:The development of both Spencer’s Farm and the existing Furze Platt site will include 700 houses, the sale of which will enable funding of the school. As a private company with a responsibility towards its shareholders Summerleaze will expect to get a commercial return from the development overall.

Q: If the school moved who would own it?

A: The aim is that the Academy Trust would own and run the school and the land on which it sits.  

Q: What will happen to the current Furze Platt site if the school moves?

A: It is being proposed that the current Furze Platt site will provide the location for a new community of homes which will have good access to education facilities, transport links and the countryside.

Q: What impact would a new development have on Furze Platt Infants and Junior Schools?

A: Two areas of the current Furze Platt Senior School site are defined as shared use. This land has been secured and will continue to be for the use of Furze Platt Infants and Junior Schools.

Q: What impact will the new development have on people living in the adjacent Spencer’s Farm Estate?

A: The developers’ intention is that it will have a positive impact and will provide new leisure and recreational facilities for people living locally. The development will be subject to a full planning consultation during which all stakeholders will be able to let the Local Authority have their views.

Q: Has Furze Platt considered any other options?

A: Furze Platt has spent the last three years exploring ways to bring much needed investment to the school. The Local Authority was exploring Building Schools for the Future funding, but that project was stopped before an application was made. The public funding available for schools is now extremely limited, with only those in the very worst condition expected to receive any support. The school’s top priority is to provide an excellent, caring education for all pupils and the Headteacher and Governors are willing to explore all options with partners who accept and enable that fundamental commitment. The partnership with Summerleaze is based on that commitment. Given the current funding restraints the school cannot see where any future public funding may come from. The Headteacher and Governors have stated that they are, ‘not prepared to sit still when we have the opportunity to partner with Summerleaze to do something amazing for our school.’

Q: Why not just re-develop the existing school? Why does the school need to move?

A: Refurbishing or rebuilding such an old site would be extremely expensive in relation to the benefits it would bring. It would also be highly disruptive to the children’s education, as the refurbishment would effectively be being done around them. Moving to a new site also means that pupils will benefit from a wide range of new sports facilities that are planned to be part of the development. In the absence of public funding to significantly improve the school, a site needed to be identified which was in the current catchment area, and where other development opportunities presented a way to fund the school. The Spencer’s Farm site meets those needs.

Q: I live close to Spencer’s Farm how are you planning to manage the traffic coming on and off the site?

A: The proposal is at an early stage and detailed plans around traffic have yet to be developed. Traffic management will be a part of the planning process and stakeholders will have an opportunity to comment on what is being proposed.

Q: Now that the proposal has been submitted for inclusion in the Local Borough Plan will I be consulted?

A: It will be a number of months until the Local Authority decides whether to accept the proposal as one of the items to be consulted on as part of the Local Borough Plan. Once their decison has been taken there will be a full consultation led by the Local Authority.
In the meantime Summerleaze and Furze Platt Senior School are fully committed to involving stakeholders and will be working with them on plans for the new school building and its facilities. This will ensure that if the proposal is accepted, the partners are in a good position to take the proposal forward with the aim of the school moving to its new campus in 2015.

Q: Now that the proposal has been submitted for inclusion in the Local Borough Plan will I be consulted?

A: It will be a number of months until the Local Authority decides whether to accept the proposal as one of the items to be consulted on as part of the Local Borough Plan. Once their decison has been taken there will be a full consultation led by the Local Authority.

In the meantime Summerleaze and Furze Platt Senior School are fully committed to involving stakeholders and will be working with them on plans for the new school building and its facilities. This will ensure that if the proposal is accepted, the partners are in a good position to take the proposal forward with the aim of the school moving to its new campus in 2015.

Q: What kind of new school building is being proposed?

A: This is an opportunity to build a high quality sustainable 21st Century school, one which will serve both the students and the community for many years to come. The school would be an inspirational and yet practical building, built on sustainable principles, promoting a superb learning environment.

Q: What will happen to the refurbishment and other improvements that are currently in progress at the school?

A: The Headteacher has written to all parents and carers to reassure them that the school remains fully committed to achieving the highest possible quality of education for students at the school. This includes continuing with the programme of redecoration and refurbishment. The proposed 6th Form remodelling and refurbishment will go ahead and is still scheduled to be ready for September 2012.

Q: If the school staff know they are going to move will they give up on the old site?

A: The first priority of Furze Platt Senior School's leadership team is the quality of education for students. This commitment is central to the school's vision and ethos and will not change, regardless of where the school is located or what plans are agreed for its future.

Q: I've heard Spencers Farm is at risk of flooding, why are you proposing to build a school and housing there?

A: A small part of the Spencers Farm site, parallel to the York stream, has a 1 in 100 year chance of flooding with an extra 20% allowable for the possible effect of climate change. However both the school and the housing will meet all planing and regulatory requirements in relation to flooding and will not be built in areas that may be affected.  

Q: Summerleaze describes this as the latest of its community projects, what else has the company contributed to the local area?

A: Summerleaze has long-standing relationships with a large number of sports and community groups. For example, Summerleaze provides free of charge the land and facilities for North Maidenhead CC, Holyport FC, Maidenhead Sailing Club, Maidenhead Sea Scouts and Boyne Hill Boys FC, all of who play sport in and around the Summerleaze Village. The company also rents out facilities and provides financial support to both Bray Waterski club and Taplow Waterski club to help enable young people to be involved in water sports.

Summerleaze was fundamental in the founding of the Thames Valley Adventure Playground in Taplow where the company provided the land and has assisted in the development of the project over the last 30 years. Staff, past and current from Summerleaze give up their personal time and company time to help with the running of the charity.

The company also sponsors numerous small events around the town and in areas of the country where Summerleaze operates, including Bray in Bloom, Summerleaze Residents' Association and Maidenhead RFC junior section.

Q: How does the proposal allow for the increased demand for school places and other community facilities that is likely to come from the new housing being proposed?

A: FPSS and Summerleaze have consulted fully with RBWM pupil place planners and the recommendations put forward in the proposal allow for facilities to meet the predicted demand that the Council has identified. This includes an anticipated need to increase the senior school places from the current 6.5 Form Entry to 7 Form Entry, an increase of 17 places per year group . It also allows for the creation of a new primary school at the Spencers Farm site.

Summerleaze’s intention is that Spencers Farm is a complete community and provision will be made for a wide range of facilities, including health provision, if appropriate demand is identified.

Q: I've heard Spencers Farm is at risk of flooding, why are you proposing to build a school and housing there?

A: A small part of the Spencers Farm site, parallel to the white Brook, has a 1 in 100 year chance of flooding with an extra 20% allowable for the possible effect of climate change. However, both the school and the housing will meet all planning and regulatory requirements in relation to flooding and will not be built in areas that may be affected.

The Environment Agency’s website shows the limit to the flood plain and clearly shows that the vast majority of Spencers Farm is outside of it  and therefore not liable to flood. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods

In light of the above no specific challenges in securing insurance for the development are anticipated.

Q: Will I still be in the catchment area if the school moves?

A: Furze Platt Senior School has a large 'designated area' covering all of Maidenhead, north of the A4. However, parents can apply from anywhere in the borough (or indeed the country). Currently if the designated area criterion is over-subscribed there are three tie breaker conditions. First priority is given to children who already have siblings at the school, then to children who attend a formally linked primary school, and lastly on the basis of the proximity of the child’s home to the school. If it does relocate it is likely that FPSS will introduce transition protection in order that the traditional priority given to children from linked primaries is maintained.

In relation to the proximity of the child’s home to the school, Furze Platt Senior School has undertaken a postcode analysis of the current student body. The suggestion is that there would be very little change to the area from which children gain admission if the school was to move to Spencers Farm.

Q: How does the proposal allow for the increased demand for school places and other community facilities that is likely to come from the new housing being proposed?

A: FPSS and Summerleaze have consulted fully with RBWM pupil place planners and the recommendations put forward in the proposal allow for facilities to meet the predicted demand that the Council has identified. This includes an anticipated need to increase the senior school places from the current 6.5 Form Entry to 7 Form Entry, an increase of 17 places per year group. It also allows for the creation of a new primary school at the Spencers Farm site.

A multi-disciplinary team including planning experts, architects and civil engineers is involved in putting this proposal together. Full consideration is being given to ensuring both sites are complete communities, supported by appropriate infrastructure and with a full range of additional facilities, including healthcare provision, as required. Summerleaze’s ongoing financial investment in developing this proposal is based on the team’s view that both the Spencers Farm and the Furze Platt sites will be able to provide the infrastructure needed to support the developments and to gain planning permission.